The first ingredient of note is mineral oil, which is a petroleum byproduct. In order for a skin restoration product to be effective, it has to be able to penetrate through multiple layers of skin. However, the mineral oil forms a "protective" layer on the outside of the skin that will not allow any other healing ingredients to penetrate the skin. This layer will also trap any number of toxins underneath it and prevent vital air from circulating around important areas of your dog's body, including cracked paw pads, the nose, and any hotspots.
BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene)
BHT has been found to cause a wide range of toxic effects on lab animals, including allergies, cancer, and immunotoxicity. BHT is used as a preservative to stabilize the oil and ensure it does not become rancid. What you might find strange, is that many countries around the world have banned the use of BHT in products intended to be used by humans. Despite this, the U.S. continues to allow its use in many personal care products and processed foods for both humans and animals, including bio-oils.
There are several other ingredients not ideal for everyday use on canines. They include geraniol, which is often used as a tick and flea repellant, and benzyl salicylate, used in sunscreen and highly toxic to cats. Many of the components of bio-oil are completely safe but several are questionable at best.
What About Ingesting Bio-Oil?
Bio-oil is not considered to be toxic but is a product designed for topical use and not to be ingested. Be aware, if you use it on your dog, it is highly likely that they will lick it off and end up ingesting it. As bio-oil is a petroleum-based product, ingesting it can lead to an upset stomach, diarrhea, and excessive water consumption, and you may see your dog eating grass in an attempt to cause vomiting to get it out of their stomach.
If you have been using bio-oil on your dog, consider finding an alternate product that is intended for use on animals. If you believe your dog has ingested bio-oil, you should contact your vet. The veterinarian may ask you to bring your pup in for a full examination including blood tests to ensure they have not ingested toxic amounts that could lead to further medical problems.
Choose products made specifically for use on dogs that do not include BHT or mineral oil in their ingredients. There are natural organic products that contain glycine max seed oil, Melaleuca cajuputi oil, or Elaeis guineensis seed oil. All of these oils are easily absorbed through the skin without leaving any residue behind and have been proven to be very effective in helping your dog's skin to heal. Ask your veterinarian about these oils before using them on your dog.
The bottom line is that the risks of using Bio-Oil on your dog far outweigh any possible benefits of its use. More importantly, before you use any skincare products on your dog, consult with your vet to make sure they are safe.